Health Practices/Disparities/Influences of African American in Pasadena CA

Health Practices/Disparities/Influences of African American in Pasadena CA

The current assignment will explore on the Black community in Pasadena. My ethnic group is Filipino but there is something unique with Black community in Pasadena in that they have a rich history and have diverse and varying aspects. Since the Black community are economically and ethnically diverse, the current work will first explore on the cultural background of African American community. This will be followed by an exploration of their health disparities, practices and perceptions. The work also explores issues facing Black community in Pasadena and strategies to overcome the issues. In addition, cultural barriers persist in nursing practice due to ethnicity diverse in Pasadena California City. 

Ways in which Blacks Navigate the White Space

The current demographic in the Black community in Pasadena in 2017-2018 by age and gender was: a total population of 14,650 where the number of males was 6,719 while that of female was 7,931 (United States Census Bureau, 2018). Attaining cultural competence while caring for patients who are part of a racial or ethnic minority is multifaceted (Campinha-Bacote, 2002). This requires the nurses during practice to inhibit particular cultural knowledge as well as general skills to adjust attitudes and skills to enhance cross-cultural communication. Majority of the Black community resides in segregated neigborhoods and they tend to take their children to segregated educational institutions. Worse is that the Black when venturing outside their local neighborhood they are occasionally arrested, harassed, questioned, and mostly surveilled. While navigating the White space, they may feel inferior or a symbol of ghetto life. 

Perception towards Environmental Control

The Black community commonly uses natural or home remedies in comparison to standard medical treatment. According to Arnold, Eiser and Ellis (2007), relying on herbalist in the Black community dates back to the time of slavery. According to Arnold, Eiser and Ellis (2007), it is hard to separate Africa religion and African herbal medicines including the Yoruba, Igbo and other traditions.  During the era of slavery and years after, the Black community was denied the access of standard medical treatment and this led the community to adapt the use of home or natural remedies before seeking standard treatment. The Blacks have higher levels or risk perception due to the neighborhood they live and their exposure to environmental risks. In addition, the Blacks are exposed to industrial or vehicular air pollution which poses them to the risk of pollution related health issues. 

Black Perception of Social Organization

During slavery and after slavery, the Black community has perceived ethnoracial discrimination. This has led them to attain negative attitude as they know that they will face discrimination based on their color. Another perception of health is that having blacks as doctor results to more satisfaction in comparison to white. According to Ashton et al (2003), the Blacks have negative attitudes towards standard care, and they rely more on natural and home remedies. 

The historical aspect of African American on racial discrimination including post-Emancipation persecution and slavery has led the community to acquire distrust towards authority figures and institutions. Arnold, Eiser and Ellis (2007) explain that Black community are less likely to trust health facilities and health physicians in comparison to Caucasians. The aspect of distrust is likely to have been caused by racial bias while seeking care. Distrust results to racial disparity among this community. According to Ashton et al (2003), trust is a significance component in care delivery as it enhances medical compliance irrespective of other pressures like cost. 

Ways in which Knowledge of Africa American Perception in Care Delivery

One way to eliminate the aspect of discrimination is by following patient autonomy where each patient receives similar care irrespective of their skin color, beliefs or ethnicity. For example, the health facility should not apply the aspect of ethnicity during delivery of care. The aspect of natural remedy can be overcome with holistic approach to delivery of care. Purnell (2005) explains that the aspect of faith in the Black community is rooted to slavery era. Hence, the community is spiritual and as a nurse, it is essential to understand their beliefs and employ the aspect of spirituality in care delivery. There are ongoing researches of including herbal medicine in the standard care and health professionals can borrow some of the aspect from Black community. 

Biological Variations

The prevalence of majority of diseases among African Americans is high in comparison to the whites. For example, the African America adults are highly infected with HIV in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups. In addition, the prevalence of diabetes is high among Blacks in comparison to the Whites. In relation to other ethnic groups, African American  had the largest deaths due to heart diseases and hypertension.  Although these incidences may be contributed to lack of affordable healthy foods, Khan et al (2015) explains genetics may have a greater influence where for example, the African Americans are sensitive to salt. 


Achieving cultural competency during the delivery of care for clients from racial or ethnic minority require us to have cross-cultural communication as well as be culturally diverse. Some of the key influencers of cultural issues among the Black community is racial discrimination, legacy of slavery, distrust and home or natural remedies. Nonetheless, as a nurse it is possible to solve the issue through the application of holistic approach to treatment. Therefore, there is need to employ and improve cultural competence through organizational and attitudinal shifts  as well  as employing general communication methods to embrace cultural diversity.


Almutairi, K. (2015). Culture and language differences as a barrier to provision of quality care by the health workforce in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Medical Journal36(4), 425-431. doi: 10.15537/smj.2015.4.10133

Arnold, Eiser, & Ellis, G. (2007). Viewpoint: Cultural Competence and the African American Experience with Health Care: The Case for Specific Content in CrossCultural Education. Academic Medicine82(2).

Ashton, C., Haidet, P., Paterniti, D., Collins, T., Gordon, H., & O’Malley, K. et al. (2003). Racial and ethnic disparities in the use of health services. Journal of General Internal Medicine18(2), 146-152. doi: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2003.20532.x

Campinha-Bacote, J. (2002). The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services: A Model of Care. Journal of Transcultural Nursing13(3), 181-184.

Khan, R., Gebreab, S., Sims, M., Riestra, P., Xu, R., & Davis, S. (2015). Prevalence, associated factors and heritabilities of metabolic syndrome and its individual components in African Americans: the Jackson Heart Study. BMJ Open, 5(10), e008675. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008675

Purnell, L., (2005). The Purnell Model for Cultural Competence.

United States Census Bureau. (2018). What’s New & FAQs QuickFacts UNITED STATES. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from

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